Author's Notes: Here it is people! The grand finale of Time Out! Substitution! It took me a while to get this done, and you'll soon find out why, but here it is! Cast your votes on the continuity poll and decide the future of this series! For now, here it is; Time Out Substitution Chapter 7! Enjoy!
Time Out! Substitution!
Chapter 7 – The Finale
"We know who you are… Ui-chan, Satoshi-kun, your time's up."
Standing there before us were the members of the Light Music Club with their instructor Sawako Yamanaka. Looks of displeasure, and maybe even shock, were etched on their faces as they surrounded us. It was a firing squad… there was no other way to put it. We've been found out…
"We followed you around the fairgrounds, you know." Mio said, "Seeing the way you two acted around each other… it was too obvious."
"Did you two enjoy your little date?" Azusa interrogated as she closely watched her friend, "It's not really nice to lie to your friend like that, you know."
"I'm sorry Azusa… ah, oh…" Ui said, realizing she had slipped up on her name. Azusa, being her friend seemed willing to forgive her, but Mio wasn't.
"Sorry won't cut it today, Ui." Mio said. She then saw the lyric sheet she had written up for her earlier and was appalled.
"No way… We've got five minutes before the show and you don't even know the lyrics? I can't believe you're even doing this Ui!"
The weight of Mio's piercing accusation was too heavy for Ui to bear. Ui's spirit shattered and she couldn't say a word. Having rendered Ui speechless, Mio's attention naturally turned to me. Compared to everyone else, she was the most fumed up. She was the largest stakeholder in this mess after all, and perhaps, after that incident, the biggest victim.
"You're disgusting…" Mio whispered to me, staring knives into my eyes, "I can't believe I told something like that to you."
That cold piercing stare would have knocked the living daylights out of a lesser man, but I stood my ground. I didn't mean to do what I did, or listen to what I heard. I didn't do anything wrong. Pushing for my innocence, I just stared back at her, deflecting those knives determinedly.
"You're not even going to apologize, aren't you?" Mio asked, "Just like Ritsu… but worse. Hmph."
"Well, you got us." I said, unfazed by her insult, "Are you gonna be trash talking us for the rest of the night?"
"You broke our trust and you have the nerve to say that?" Mio gasped, "You're a monster!"
"Maybe I am." I said, glaring back at her "I admit this was a fucked up plan and that I screwed up like shit. I know I'm an asshole for lying to you all and doing things I shouldn't have done, so call me whatever you want Mio-senpai. Call me whatever you want, but know this; I did this for a reason and so did Ui."
"Well?" She asked, not really knowing what else to say. Then, I grinned.
"It's because we love our sisters."
Hearing this, the girl fell silent and her disbelief slowly diffused her fury.
"I understand Ui and I lied to you guys… and that we risked making the show a flop and all..." I continued, "But we were doing this for our sisters. As much as they want to be here, they can't be here. Seeing that, we couldn't just stand still… we had to freaking do something, even if it was something stupid."
The instructor and the other members who had come with Mio like a mob looking for blood were now silent as well, their anger now nonexistent. Sawako was impressed. Tsumugi was pleased. Azusa understood our sentiment. They grew sympathetic. It was only Mio now who held on to a grudge. What had happened between us was wrong on so many levels, but we had to put it behind us. She had to understand.
"We're here to perform today, Mio-senpai." I said firmly, "For the past few hours, I've been helping Ui to get the song right. If I didn't care about this show, then I wouldn't care how Ui did. I could have just walked away, you know. But I didn't. I just couldn't leave her alone."
"Satoshi-kun," Ui said with a teary smile, slowly regaining her confidence.
"So know this," I continued, "We're not here to humiliate you guys or to make fun of you – not at all. We want this show to be a success as much as you do. After all, if that wasn't our plan, then why the hell would we have come here?"
"I know that…" Mio said, losing the will to accuse any further, "but…"
"If you're still mad at us for lying…" I said, tearing off my wig and throwing it to the ground, "then we won't lie anymore."
There it was, as plain as day. The moment I took of the wig, the long locks of brown hair gave way to the short messy black hair of mine. Whatever girlish features I may have had disappeared in an instant. I was no longer an imitation of my sister Ritsu. I was myself.
"I'm here today as Satoshi Tainaka," I said in a serious tone, "and I'm here to perform on behalf of my sister."
"I'm the same." Ui added, fixing her hair and tying it back to her regular ponytail, "I'm not here to be onee-san. I'm here as plain old Ui Hirasawa, performing for my big sis."
The two of us looked at each other and smiled.
"Please let us perform with you tonight!" Ui and I said, bowing as low as our backs would take us. "We beg of you!"
"So what do you think Sawako-sensei?" Mio asked their instructor, too moved by the gesture to make the decision herself.
"I personally won't mind." Sawako said, "But there's just one problem…"
She then turned to me and asked,
"Are you fine performing in that skirt and blouse Mr. Tainaka?"
"I don't care what I wear out there." I said with a grin, "I'm gonna give them a show regardless."
"Eager to cross-dress, huh." Sawako smiled, "You'd have made an excellent member of the Light Music Club if you were a girl."
This statement made Azusa and Mio cringe… I'm guessing she made them wear outlandish costumes in the club. I knew something was fishy… Had the situation been different, I would have been bitching about my dignity and other crap like that. However, some things are just more important than that. Performing on behalf of my sister today was one of them.
"In any case," Sawako concluded, "the decision lies on the Club President… who isn't here, so it'll go to her trusty deputy. It's your call Akiyama-san."
"If you really want to do this…" Mio said with a smile, "then I can't stop you."
She then stood next to me and whispered,
"Just don't tell anyone about what I told you, okay? It's our little secret."
"Erm… sure…" I mumbled, still quite uncomfortable of the notion of my sister's best friend liking her. I'll do my best to forget all about it, and all the Freud references I've made because of that.
"So let's go." Ui said confidently as the sound of people entering the auditorium reached our ears, "We have a show to do."
With that, the five of us marched on up to the stage where our instruments already were. Leaving the wig on the wings of the stage, I marched towards the drumset and sat, still donning my sister's clothes but not giving a damn. The moment I held on to the drumsticks, I forgot all about that, keeping the reason why I was here in mind to prod me onwards. Looking forward, I saw Ui putting on her sister's Gibson Les Paul. She held on to the fretboard with one hand and the microphone stand with the other as we all waited for that red curtain to open.
My heart beat wildly, induced by a mix of excitement and stage fright as I gripped the drumsticks tightly to keep myself from freaking out. The sound of the audience grew louder and louder as people filled the audience area. This was it… the time I've been waiting for all day; the reason why I was here in the first place. It was at that time that Ui turned to me and said with a smile,
"Thank you Satoshi-kun."
The statement I made earlier holds true. She was damn pretty when she smiled. It would have melted away any anxiety I had, but at that moment, I had none… and it was all thanks to her. I wouldn't have gotten through today without her.
"No problem, Ui-chan."
The curtains then slowly opened and the large crowd I had imagined stood there as I thought they would. There was much talk going on there, such as where Yui-senpai was or why a guy in a blouse and skirt was sitting where Ritsu was supposed to be, but screw that. Nodding to Ui, she picked up the microphone and did the MC.
"Everyone. I regret to inform you that Yui Hirasawa and Ritsu Tainaka won't make it tonight. However, the Light Music Club will still perform tonight! I am Ui Hirasawa on vocals and lead guitar, performing for my sister Yui… and this guy behind me is Satoshi Tainaka on drums, performing for his sister Ritsu. It may seem strange that we have to replace them… and there's a long story about it that I won't bother you about now, but rest assured, we will do our best to give you a good time! We only have one song prepared for you tonight, and we apologize, but please, lend us your ears and give us a chance!"
A supportive roar from the audience then reciprocated from the mass of people, making Ui and I smile.
"Thank you very much!" Ui said, with tears of joy welling in her eyes, "Here we go! Fuwa Fuwa Time!"
Fuwa Fuwa Time/Light and Fluffy Time
Musicians: Ui Hirasawa (Gt-1, Vo), Mio Akiyama (Ba), Satoshi Tainaka (Dr), Tsumugi Kotobuki (Ky), Azusa Nakano (Gt-2)
Disclaimer: This is an interpretation of the song, and I therefore do not own this song. Credits to the music directors of K-ON!
"Whenever I look at you my dear, my heart, it just starts to beat,
I get this fluffy feeling like a marsh-a-mallow overload that goes 'fuwa fuwa'!"
"You, you're always out there, but you never see me
So I just watch you from the side, waiting for that chance you'll see."
"Cause' It's only when I'm dreamin', that we are together,
I can only hope it'll come true someday~!"
"Ah~, oh my God, please hear me out! Bring us closer for once,
Give us dream time, just the two of us!
Until then, I guess, I'll just cuddle up with my stuffed bear~
And I'll whisper, 'Good night, my love!'"
"Fuwa Fuwa time~!
Fuwa Fuwa time~!
Fuwa Fuwa time~!"
"It's another day. Just seeing you already makes me want to squeal!
I pass you by, you flash a smile and then I start to overheat!"
"That happy face you always wear, oh, it's always with me.
Whenever I close my eyes, that's the first thing that I see."
"Oh if only I could, make these dreams just come true!
We'll have a sweet time, just you and me!"
"Ah~ Oh my God, could you tell me why,
Why I am feeling like this right now?
On this dreamy night, I long to be with you.
Holding on to that teddy bear that you gave me,
I ask it, 'will I be fine?'
The instrumental came and I pounded on the drums like there was no tomorrow. The crowd was on their feet, clapping to the beat of the cymbals and the feeling was intoxicating. The band members looked at me in the corner of their eyes, watching with delight as I gave my all on every single drum hit. Mio then chuckled a bit and went on and joined me with her bass, following the rhythm I had set. Tsumugi's keyboard followed and so did Azusa's effects part. Then it was Ui's turn.
"Go Ui!" I shouted from behind the set
"Yeah!" She nodded and segued into the solo with passionate strums. She played the guitar with the same furor as the practice and it was amazing. All the time, she had a smile on her face. We can do this!
"If I only had the guts to speak
And walk at your side where you go
Would that ever even change a thing?
Well, yeah, I guess that'd be so!"
"But that's where the problem lies you see
Cause I wouldn't know what the heck to talk about!
It's gonna be awkward since I won't know what to do. Oh man, this is going nowhere!
Ahh, oh fine! Let's sleep! Let's sleep! Let's sleep!"
"Ah~, oh my God, please hear me out! Bring us closer for once,
Give us miracle time, just the two of us!
When that happy time, I can talk to you, finally comes by,
Together, us two will smile."
"Fuwa Fuwa time~!
Fuwa Fuwa time~!
Fuwa Fuwa time~!"
The song ended and an enthusiastic applause greeted our performance. The sweat on our faces sparkled in the stage lights as the five of us came together for a bow. With Ui on my left and Mio on my right, we all held hands and bowed together. We then exited the stage to the sound of cheering to make way for the next performers. I picked up the wig and the attached headband from the floor and threw it into my bag laughing. Last time I'll ever use that stupid disguise.
Once we were backstage again, Ui put Gui-tah back in the case with care then picked up the stuffed bear we had won at the shooting stall earlier. I then offered to carry it for her and she was more than glad to accept – it was pretty damn heavy for a stuffed bear… Mio then went over to where we were and said in an apologetic voice,
"I'm sorry I doubted you two. You two were amazing tonight. Congrats."
"Thanks… but don't worry about it." I said laughing, "We did a stupid thing today… we're surprised we even pulled it off."
"Well, I'm glad you did." Mio said with a smile, "So… what are you two doing after this? You want to… uh… hang out?"
"Sorry Mio-senpai," Ui apologized, "I have to make onee-san her dinner after all. And I have to bring this stuffed toy home too."
"Same here." I added, "Maybe some other time."
"Yeah," Mio said with a shy smile, "some other time…"
Whoa… what's this all of the sudden? Was she trying to ask me out? Oh damn… this has been a craaaazy day. Bidding farewell to everyone there, Ui and I headed out of the school grounds.
"So, we got through it huh." I said, sighing in relief, "It's amazing how we stayed sane through all of that."
"I know right?" Ui chuckled, "Freud would have had a field day today."
"Yeah, he would." I laughed. Then, for the first time in this cynical life of mine, I felt glad… and it was all thanks to this person walking beside me. Holding on to this stuffed bear, the lyrics of Fuwa Fuwa Time came to mind…
"Hey Ui." I said, turning to my companion
"Yeah?" Ui asked
"On that first chorus of the song earlier," I noted, "wasn't it supposed to be a plushie bunny or something?"
"Was it?" Ui asked with a smile, "I must have changed it then. Improvisation! That's right, it was an improvisation!"
She stuck out her tongue jokingly. Just as I thought, she changed the lyrics. Then, there was something about that 'stuffed bear that he gave me'. Was she talking about me, perhaps?
"Yeah right…" I said with a smile. Taking a deep breath, I stopped walking and called her out determinedly.
"Ui… would you go out with me?"
The girl stopped walking as well and looked pleasantly surprised by my sudden proposal. She then smiled and said,
"I'd be happy to."
She then leaned beside me and pecked me on the cheek. It was the best feeling I've had in a long time.
"Just… don't cross-dress anymore, okay?" Ui laughed
"I'll make it a point not to." I laughed as well. We then walked on to our homes, side by side under the bright moonlight. As crazy as it was, in the end, today was a good day. Ritsu and Yui owe us big time, but... we owe them for brining us together like this. Maybe those two were planning it from the start? Meh, who cares. I've given up questioning everything like a wannabe philosopher already. It gets tiring, you know?
Holding on to that bear, I told Ui about that extra fortune that fortune teller had told me earlier. Judging by the smile on her face, she didn't mind... and neither did I.
Seems we have a future after all. This was nice.